New 1200 and 1500 Calorie Sample Menu

O.K. I have to confess. I may be a Nutritionist and I like healthy food but cooking is not my favorite thing to do. On rare occasions I enjoy preparing a special labor intensive meal when I have the time but I am as busy as the next person. Most of the time I like meals that are quick and easy as well as nutritious and tasty! Today I have a 1200 calorie diet menu that calls for eating soup from a can for lunch and popping a Lean Cuisine frozen entree into the microwave oven for supper. How’s that for simple? This menu can be easily adapted for anyone on a 1500 calorie diet. Look for my ideas after the menu.

NOTE: I am NOT suggesting is is a good idea to eat commercially prepared food on a regular basis. Quite the contrary! I believe firmly in the importance and value of preparing your own meals and snacks from fresh whole food and eating as little processed food as you can manage. However, I understand that doing what is best is not always possible. Hence my recommendations for making the best choice you can when homemade isn’t possible.

For this menu, I recommend my special homemade Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes for breakfast but you could choose to substitute commercially prepared pancakes if you don’t have time to make your own. (Cook up a batch of these pancakes on the weekend and then you will have a breakfast treat for several days!)

Sample Menu for 1200 Calories


2 Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes

1 Tbsp. Light Butter with Canola (by Land O’Lakes) – 50 calories

2 Tbsp. pancake syrup

4 oz. orange juice


1/8 cup Whole Almonds, unsalted


1 cup Organic Lentil Soup (no salt added soup by Health Valley) This soup is healthy but a little too bland for me. So I spice it up with some Mrs. Dash Southwest Chipotle mix and a little freshly squeezed lemon juice. That way I get more flavor without the sodium.

1 cubic inch of Low Fat Reduced Cholesterol Mozzarella Cheese – (Lifetime – 55 calories)

1 Clementine

1 8 oz. cup of Skim milk


1 Pear


1 dish Macaroni & Cheese by Lean Cuisine – 290 calories

1/2 cup Snap Green Beans

Small Salad with 1 cup mixed salad greens and 1/4 cup or so of chopped fresh tomato tossed with 1 Tbsp. of Olive Oil Vinaigrette

2 Cookies Grace’s Sunflower Seed Petite Cookies – 43 calories

water, unsweetened tea or coffee, or diet soda

(Always remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.)

Total Calories = 1202

Total Fiber = 26.9

Fat = 32%

Carbs = 53%

Protein = 15%

Calcium = 1111 mg (Women between 19 and 50 years need approximately 1,000 mg a day, 51+ need 1,200 mg a day)

Iron = 10.1 mg (Women 19 to 50 years need 18 mg of iron, 51+ need 8 mg)

1500 Calorie Diet Menu

Modify the 1200 Calorie Diet Menu to fit your needs. If you are between the ages of 19 and 50 or over 50 and still menstruating you may want to have a second cup of the soup for lunch. That will add 100 calories and a bit more iron. If you are getting enough iron from a supplement then you have more options for the additional 300 calories. If you are over 50 and needing a little more calcium you may want to add another serving from the milk group such as an additional glass of milk or a yogurt.

You could supplement the two snacks, morning and afternoon, with additional snack choices. See one of my previous posts on low calorie snacks to go for lots of ideas or you might want to eat another pancake or two for breakfast or have a higher calorie treat sometime during the day. The choice is yours.

For more diet tips see:

1200 Calorie Diet Plan

1500 Calorie Diet Plan

Questions? Be sure to ask. Comments? Feel free to share. Have a great week, watch those calories, and most importantly, stay healthy!

  • wendy January 22, 2011, 10:59 pm

    hey there i just looked and saw your 1200-1500 calorie diet im barely starting mine. I really am having trouble actually going to the grocery store and knowing what to actually buy any way you could help me im spanish so the food is so different but i would like to try your diet plan just need a little more of a guide exactly on how and what to choose. Thank you

    • Lori January 24, 2011, 9:15 am

      Hi Wendy,

      My apologies for the delay in responding, I had a busy weekend with lots of family-related stuff to do.

      First of all, please keep in mind that the menu on this page is a sample menu only. I have lots of sample menus to give women an idea of how to get started. However, what matters more is to take a look at the overall plans I have on this site: 1200 Calorie Diet Plan and 1500 Calorie Diet Plan.

      These plans are provided to guide you in choosing the foods you are familiar with and can purchase where you live. If you are spanish then you want to take a look at how you can adapt the foods from your culture so that you have a healthy balance of lean meat, whole grain carbohydrates, dairy or dairy alternatives, fruits, and vegetables. Healthy food is always important but what you must do first for weight loss is learn about calories! Learn as much as you can about the calories in the food you eat now. Then think about how you can change the food to be a bit healthier with fewer calories or eat smaller portions or both.

      What kinds of food do you like best? What is your country of origin? I am American but I grew up in Bolivia. (I wish my spanish were better but it’s been a long time since I’ve used it on a daily basis!) I’ve been to Argentina, Peru, Mexico, and Guatemala. So I may have some sense of the food you might like if your family is originally from Latin America. Or do you come from Spain?

      Tell me a bit more and I can try to help you.